Vineyard Wind sweetens pot

By Kristen Young

Posted Feb 26, 2018 at 7:08 PM
Updated at 6:24 AM

An offshore wind energy company with plans to bring connector cables ashore on Cape Cod says it will spend $2 million to train locals for new careers to help position Massachusetts as the leader of the nation’s offshore wind industry workforce, but only if it wins a contract to provide wind energy to electric distribution companies.

Through its new “Wind Workforce” initiative, Vineyard Wind would partner with Cape Cod Community College in West Barnstable, Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay and other schools to train students for jobs needed to staff its wind farm proposed for the waters south of Martha’s Vineyard, said Erich Stephens, the company’s chief development officer.

The initiative would train students so they are qualified to fill as many as 1,000 jobs related to the engineering, design, construction and operation of the project by 2022, but the ultimate goal is to give Massachusetts the highest skilled wind energy workforce on the East Coast, Stephens said.

“We wanted to start to build the educational infrastructure and educational capacity, so for other projects that come along after ours, there’s a ready workforce that’s got the training,” he said.

Massachusetts was one of the first East Coast states to implement wind energy legislation, giving residents here a chance to get critical experience and training ahead of workers elsewhere, Stephens said.